Slang Names for Police Officers

Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson is the main protagonist of my debut crime novel ‘Hunter’s Chase’ that is to be published by Crooked Cat Books on 02.02.2018. When I was writing the book, I had to consider various words that are used to describe police officers by those people in Scotland who are not members of the force.

robert peelThe oldest ones I came across were ‘bobbies’ and ‘peelers’. The metropolitan Police Force in London, England was established by Sir Robert Peel who lived from 1788-1850. He served as a member of the Conservative party and was Prime Minister of The United Kingdom twice: The first time from 1834-35 and later from 1841-1846. However, it was when he was Home Secretary (1822–1827), that he reformed and liberalised the criminal law and created the modern police force, leading to a new type of officer known in tribute to him as “bobbies” (Bobby being a contraction of his first name, Robert)  and “peelers” (an obvious corruption of his surname).

Another common slang term for police officers in Scotland is “copper”. There is a common but mistaken belief that it refers to the police uniform’s buttons or badge being made of copper, however, it was originally used in Britain to mean “someone who captures”. In British English, the term cop is recorded (Shorter Oxford Dictionary) in the sense of ‘to capture’ from 1704, derived from the Latin capere via the Old French caper. The term “copper” is often abbreviated to “cop”.

“Filth” has moved from literature to common usage in the United Kingdom. In fact it is police picturesnormally used as “The Filth”, meaning the police. The inspiration for this is the novel by Scottish author Irvine Welsh, “Filth”. Another slang term for police officers is “fuzz” or “the fuzz”. This term also found its way into art as the title of the 2009 comedy film “Hot Fuzz”. “Plod” or “the Plod” is another nickname for police officers that finds its source in British fiction. In this case, the children’s author Enid Blyton wrote stories about her character Noddy who lived in Toytown where Mr Plod was the policeman.

The phrase “the long arm of the law” is probably the source of the slang term for the police “the law”. The idea of the phrase is that no matter how far they run, all criminals are eventually caught and prosecuted successfully. Certainly, my characters DI Hunter Wilson and the members of his team are keen to ensure that this was true.

Police-Scotland pictures

“Pig” is another derogatory term for the police in common use in Scotland. It was frequently used during the 19th century but  disappeared for a while, and reappeared during the 20th and 21st century. It became frequently used again during the 1960s and 1970s in the underground and anti-establishment culture. However, in Glasgow, Scotland the term “polis” (with the emphasis on the ‘o’) is common too. As my novel ‘Hunter’s Chase’ is set in Edinburgh, I avoided that Glasgow slang.

There are certainly many slang terms and nicknames for police officers in use in Scotland, most of them are derogatory and used freely and interchangeably by those outwith the police force.

Val Penny

 

Val Penny Answers Questions posed by Crime Writer Lorraine Mace

Val Penny #interview #writerslife

This article first appeared online at https://thewritersabcchecklist.blogspot.com/2019/10/val-penny-interview-writerslife

A warm Wednesday welcome to Val Penny.

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What genre would you say your novels fall into, or do they defy classification?

My novels fall firmly within the Tartan Noir part of the crime genre. I write Police Procedurals set in the beautiful city of Edinburgh.

What made you choose that genre?

I chose that genre because that is the style of story that I most enjoy reading. I do read all kinds of books: fiction, non-fiction, romance, historical and women’s fiction, indeed, I even enjoy reading the occasional sci-fi novel. However, my favourite genre is crime.

How long does it take you to write a book?

My first book took me about two and a half years to write. This was partly because I didn’t know what I was doing and partly because I was being treated for breast cancer when I started writing it. Now, books take me between six and eight months to write.

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What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

Ideally, I like to get my ‘life jobs’ done in the morning such as feeding

the cats and answering emails. After lunch I write or edit depending on what stage my WIP is at. I am more of a night owl than a lark, so I often work on into the night, if I am inspired.

Tell me something about yourself your readers might not know.

I love cats and have had them in my life since I was three years old. Recently, when I went to the doctor about a persistent blocked nose, I was diagnosed with an allergy to cats!

This has not changed my life, nor that of my cats. We just co-habit with antihistamine tablets!

When did you write your first book and how old were you?

I wrote my first novel, a family saga, called The Douglas Family for my little sister when I was nine. It had original illustrations in it, but sadly it was never published.

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What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love to spend time with family and friends, meeting for coffee or going out to the movies or for dinner. I knit, walk and swim and am a voracious reader. However, my most extravagant interest is travel. I love to visit different parts of the world. My husband treated me to Rome for my most recent significant birthday and we spent the day climbing Mount Vesuvius and wandering the streets of Pompeii. I had a wonderful time and would be surprised if my protagonist, Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson, did not visit there sometime.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

The first two publishing houses that received my manuscript were both interested. I was surprised to learn that most authors struggle to find a publisher.

How many books have you written?

I have published three novels in my Edinburgh Crime Mysteries series. The fourth, Hunter’s Blood, is due to be published 01.02.2020.

Do you Google yourself? What did you find that affected you most (good or bad)?

No. Never. I don’t believe everything I read in the papers either!

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

I originally wanted to be a ballet dancer or own a candy store. Until I achieve either of these aims, I better keep writing.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have on your computer?

Not many. I write my notes for future works into notebooks rather than clutter the computer. I do, however, have a very large collection of half-filled notebooks!

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Bio: Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer.

However, she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels. Her crime novels, Hunter’s Chase, Hunter’s RevengeHunter’s Force and Hunter’s Blood are set in Edinburgh, Scotland, published by Crooked Cat Books. The fifth book in the series, Hunter’s Secret, follows shortly.

Author contact details

www.authorvalpenny.com

www.facebook.com/valerie.penny.739

www.facebook.com/groups/296295777444303

https://twitter.com/valeriepenny

Val Penny Answers Some Questions for fellow author John Jackson

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It seemed an appropriate way of introducing Val Penny, a fellow Crooked-Cat author, and writer of the very successful Hunter series of detective novels set in and around Edinburgh.

1            What makes a good story? Characters. A good plot is essential, but if the reader doesn’t buy into your characters, all is lost.

2            How have YOU become a better writer? By reading lots of good books in all the different genres. I firmly believe that before you write a word, you should read voraciously.

3            What inspires you? People. I think people are fascinating and a snippet of conversation or interesting outfit can inspire a whole novel.

4            What does your family think of your writing? I am lucky that my whole family is very supportive of my writing endeavours. They turn up at events, tell their friends, share things on Facebook and even buy the books!

5            What were the most surprising things you learned about yourself in creating your books? The amount of bad language I put into them!

6            If you could have written any book, what would it have been and why? I am quite happy writing the novels I write without being envious of those written by others, but I do enjoy the books written by Linwood Barclay and Erin Kelly.

7            How much research do you do? I have to do quite a lot of research into the crimes my characters commit, the language they would use and, at the other end of the scale, I need to research the CSI and forensic expertise and police procedures.

8            How do you relax? I spend time with my family, swim, knit and read. I also love to travel and find much inspiration from ‘people watching’ on my journeys.

9            Do you have any writing quirks? (and if so what?) I suppose we all have quirks, but I had never thought about it until now! I think I am quite organised, I write for promoting my work and write blog posts in the mornings and work on my novel in the afternoons. I am very focused while I am writing, I like to have a quiet writing space so that I can hear the voices of my characters in my head.

10         Why write in your genre? I enjoy reading crime thrillers and I started writing them simply because they are my favourite kind of stories.

11         How is your writing different now from when you started writing? I think it is more sophisticated and the plots are more closely interwoven.

12         What do people THINK they know about your subject/genre, that they don’t? They think crime novels are easy to write! They are not ‘literary pieces’: believe me, they are not a soft option from a writer’s point of view.

13         Your 3 favourite authors? Erin Kelly, Michael Jecks and Katharine Johnson.

14         In what ways do you ’service’ or ‘support’ your books? I try to share my stories by making author visits in real life and online. Support from other authors and all my readers is terribly important.

15         What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews? Everybody is entitled to an opinion. It is lovely to read good reviews but no writer will ever produce something everybody enjoys, so bad reviews are inevitable. I view getting good and bad reviews as a right of passage for authors. I think it was Harper Lee (who wrote To Kill a Mockingbird) who said, ‘I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent, he would be wise to develop a thick hide.’ She was right!

16         What makes your book(s) stand out from the crowd? One of the things I love about my books is the cover. They are produced by my publishers, Crooked Cat Books, but I think they are fabulous.

17         Tell us something about your road to being published. I began writing my first novel when I was recovering from cancer. I did not have the energy to go out with friends and family, travel and I was not allowed to swim during my treatment. However, I had the energy to read, and subsequently to write.

18         Plotter or Pantser. I was a pantser until I attended a course run by the inimitable Sue Moorcroft. She convinced me of the usefulness of plotting. So now I plot quite thoroughly, except for the very end – I never know who done it until I have finished writing.

19         Your main character. What makes him or her so special? Hunter Wilson is calm, thorough and thoughtful. He is flawed but compassionate and determined to uncover the truth.

20         What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book, but nobody has? Can I make Hunter’s Chase into a movie?

Val Penny isauthor pic 2 an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University.
She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However, she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store.
Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels. Her crime novels, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ and Hunter’s Revenge are set in Edinburgh, Scotland, published by Crooked Cat Books. The third book in the series, Hunter’s Force, follows shortly.
Hunter's Revenge Cover

Hunter’s Revenge – Edinburgh Crime Mystery #2

 

Hunter's Revenge BannerMy second crime thriller novel, Hunter’s Revenge, will be published by Crooked Cat Books on 09.09.2018. It, and my first book, Hunter’s Chase, are both available to order from Amazon now. myBook.to/HuntersRevenge

Hunter's Revenge and Me

I am thrilled to be able to share an excerpt from the novel with you. I hope you enjoy it.

Prologue

East Germany, January 1968

The last thing Georg did on his eighteenth birthday was kill a man.

He really hadn’t meant to kill the Stasi officer in front of him, but it was him or Georg – and Georg did not want to die. It was the first time he’d seen a corpse. The streets were slick with ice. The man lost his balance and cracked his head on the pavement. Georg stared down at the body: there was blood and brains all over the pavement. He looked into the officer’s eyes. They stared blindly to heaven, but Georg knew there wasn’t a Stasi officer on earth who was going there. He looked away from death and towards his friends in horror, but when they saw what had happened, they scattered. Georg picked up the officer’s gun and began to run.

More Stasi officers appeared as the boys fled.

Georg was out of breath when he got home.

“What’s the rush, son?” his father asked.

“Shit, Dad! It’s bad.”

“You’re drunk! No language in this house, boy,” said his grandmother.

“Dad, the boys and me were leaving the bar to come home and we saw a Stasi officer”

“So?”

“We were laughing and having fun.”

“And?”

“For a laugh I knocked his hat off.”

“Idiot! You know Stasi have no sense of humour. Ever. So what next?”

“He pulled his gun and told us to stand silently against the wall.”

“And you apologised and complied, I hope.”

“I panicked and punched him. He slipped on the ice and fell over. He hit his head on the ground, and when I checked him, he wasn’t breathing. He was dead. I just took his gun and ran.”

The silence in the room was deafening.

“You did what? You fucking idiot! Did you really punch a Stasi officer? Are you mad? You know we don’t even have to openly engage in resistance to draw the attention of the Stasi and incur its retribution. Just failing to conform with mainstream society can be enough. Shit! I sired a fool.” Georg’s father’s red face reflected his rage.

“And now you are here,” his grandmother added. “You ran home, leading them straight to us. We will all die now. Thank you.”

“What is all the noise?” Georg’s mother came through from the kitchen, drying her hands on her apron. His twin sister Ingrid and younger brother Wilhelm followed her. They looked bewildered. Their father rarely raised his voice, especially not to Georg.

As his father explained the issues, Georg’s mother burst into tears.

“They will kill him,” she whispered.

Val Penny

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Winchester Writers’ Festival, University of Winchester, West Downs Student Village, Winchester, England

The Winchester Writers’ Festival is held in the middle of June and attracts over three hundred emerging novelists, poets, short story writers, children’s writers, script and memoir writers  from across the UK and the world to the University of Winchester. Delegates attend workshops, talks and one-to-ones with over seventy literary agents, commissioning editors, authors and expert practitioners throughout an inspiring and supportive weekend. This year was the first time I had ever attended The Winchester Writers’ Festival, but it was recommended to me by my friend and mentor, Simon Hall.winchester

I had the opportunity to meet with four agents and publishers, three of whom expressed an interest in my work. However, it was eventually Crooked Cat Books, whom I had submitted my work to, prior to attending Winchester, that accepted my debut crime novel, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ for publication.

At Winchester, I stayed in student accomodation. My goodness, it took me back! Accommodation with breakfast is available at the University of Winchester in basic student rooms in the West Downs Student Village and in Beech Glade on the main King Alfred campus.  A free shuttle bus service will run between West Downs and the Festival venues on the main King Alfred campus at key times over the weekend. En suite and Standard (shared bathroom) accommodation is available at very reasonable prices. Beech Glade is much more convenient for the main campus where the talks, meetings and meals are held, but only West Downs has en-suite accommodation, so the deal was set. I was staying in West Downs. The West Downs Student Village is at the top of a steep hill, so I was glad the course ran a shuttle bus morning and afternoon.

winchester university diningThe accommodation is basic, but clean. My room contained a bed, wardrobe, desk chair and book shelves with an ensuite shower room. Basic bedlinen, toiletries and towels were provided too. I was only there for a long weekend, what more did I need? Accommodation includes hot and cold buffet breakfast for the nights you stay. If you are attending the conference for the day, lunch is also included. Dinner is not and requires to be booked and paid for separately. The meals were ample and tasty and there was provision for vegetarians. Prices in the bar are much lower than in the real world.

Winchester makes great play of being inclusive and having rooms suitable for wheelchair users. I did not see any wheelchair users at the conference. The pack I received states that, although there are stairs leading from conference buildings to the bar and dining roomm, there are lifts for those with mobility issues. I do not have mobility issues, but there were delegates who required assistance to walk. The lifts did not work. That was unsatisfactory.

Free, but limited, parking is available at West Downs and further parking is available in the main car park and Medecroft car park on the main campus but as I travelled to Winchester by train, this did not affect me.

lemnsissayThe keynote speech was delivered on the Saturday morning by Lemn Sissay. I enjoyed the talk and found him a motivating and interesting speaker. Unfortunately, as many people queued to buy his books after his talk, we were told he had somewhere else to be. As a result of this, he stopped dedicationg the books and just signed them, then he left. Not all those waiting with books go them signed. This was bad organisation disppointing and tacky. I have never seen this happen anywhere before. I opted not to buy any of his books.

The Winchester Writers’ festival was interesting some seventy-five speakers delivered fifty separate talks, readings and workshops to almost three hundred writers. The accomodation was adequate. However, bearing in mind the conference only lasts three days, it is extremely expensive. I would not attend the Winchester Writers’ Festival regularly, but I may attend again in the future. I believe there are other writers’ events that are better value for money.

Val Penny

Exciting:An Excerpt From Hunter’s Chase

Hunter's Chase bannerPrologue

Edinburgh, November 2012

DI Hunter Wilson took off his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose.

There had to be an answer. How did it stay under the radar? The new supply of cocaine into the city made the drug little more expensive than tobacco. Fury mixed with exasperation to sting his pride. He was damned if any low-life was going to offload this junk on his watch. Bastards!

Hunter sighed and stared at the spreadsheets on his desk. The investigation wouldn’t start tonight, so maybe he should get down to the pub to unwind and think about the darts match. If he left now, he might not be late.

As he grabbed his coat, there was a knock on the door. Hunter was surprised to see DC Winston Zewedu, better known as “Bear”, stick his head round the door.

“Boss, I know you want to get away tonight, but we’ve just had a call from Sir Peter Myerscough. He’s had his house broken into.”

“Of course he has!” Hunter snarled. “That arse just has to get his stuff nicked on my darts night. Come on, Bear, let’s go.”

Chapter 1

Jamie Thomson swaggered along one of the tree-lined streets in the wealthy Edinburgh suburb of Morningside. To him, the capital of Scotland was really just a big village. Everybody knew everybody else, and tonight, everybody would know Jamie Thomson. He felt it as he moved quietly along the dark street. Excitement. Pop was away, but, although he had just turned twenty, Jamie would show folk it was business as usual. Pop would be so proud.

Jamie’s uniform was clean: black trousers, black jacket with a hood – other folk might call it a hoodie – black silk gloves, and cheap, new black shoes. So much more difficult to trace, especially as he chose to wear them a size smaller than was comfortable. If he left a footprint they police would be looking for the wrong size of shoe. Genius!

He was glad of the hood. The rain was not heavy, but there was a lot of it. The wind blew it into his face and almost took his breath away. His Granny called this wet rain. Jamie missed her. A lot. Silly old sausage! Who ever heard of dry rain? He was glad the road was quiet. But then nobody with any sense would go out in this unless they had to, and Jamie had to.

The house was dark. Jamie smiled. Good. He liked it quiet and peaceful when he was working. He could concentrate, get on with it and get the job done quickly. Very satisfying. The old boy was usually out late on a Thursday, Jamie knew. Jamie watched. The old boy would come home with a babe, back of eleven o’clock, usually. Jamie had no idea what the hotties saw in the old geezer, but good luck to him.

Jamie sauntered up the path as if he belonged, although it was not easy to saunter with shoes so tight. Still, the pain was worth it.He quietly slipped the lock and the door creaked as it swung open. Then he sighed wearily as the burglar alarm sounded. He found the control panel behind the door (they always put it behind the door) and hit in a code. Silence.

Jamie nodded. He could not believe how many folk left their alarms on the factory settings, but he was very glad they did. Idiots. They deserved whatever they got, or whatever he got, more like it. He chuckled at his own wit.

Jamie pushed the door open and paused as it creaked. He breathed in deeply. Cigar smoke. Expensive. Didn’t the old boy know smoking was bad for your health? But the carpet was lovely! Thick. Far more expensive than that stuff Mam and Pop got on sale from Carpet Worth. Jamie flexed his knees and felt the thick, soft pile give beneath him. Class. He switched on his torch to check the soles of his shoes. No wet, no dirt. Good. Torch off. He didn’t want to leave muck on this carpet; that would be criminal.

Shit! He jumped. A mirror on the cupboard door gave him a fright! He thought it was a burglar dodging against him. Jamie didn’t like to fight. Violence wasn’t his game. He felt all hot and sweaty. He stood still for a moment, holding his chest while his heartbeat returned to normal. Then he looked around. Two doors to the left, two doors to the right, and in front of him a staircase and a door. He opened the first door on the left and slipped into the room. He was pleased; this was the room with the French windows. Jamie unlocked them, just in case he needed an escape route. As Pop always said, you couldn’t be too careful.

He kept the torch on low beam and swept the light around the room. He started at the mantelpiece and shoved the silver and ornaments into his Asda bag. Shocking having to pay 5p for a plastic bag now. Daylight robbery. As opposed to nighttime robbery.

Moving over to the desk, he found a thick roll of cash. Lucky. And a cheque book. Did anybody still use these? Very old-fashioned. He stuck it in his pocket anyway. Bingo! Boxes: jewellery boxes; watch boxes.Nice. Lots of gold, bracelets, necklaces, and rings with big sparkly stones. The watches were impressive: a Rolex, and this one: a Breitling Transocean thingy. Well over £20k. Sweet.

Jamie was clearing the contents of the boxes into his pockets and congratulating himself on his cleverness when he heard a creak. He stopped. Listened. Shit! The front door. Lucky it needed oil, really. Who was it? Piss.

Jamie heaved his stash into his pockets and his bag, and shoved the cash down his trousers. Didn’t even have time to examine his haul.

***

Sir Peter Myerscough came back early. He came back alone. That day he had had to brief the First Minister on the action taken to contain the suspected terrorist threat in Broughty Ferry, then he had taken his parliamentary researcher for dinner. It did not take long to get through the three courses and coffee at the New Club. He had tipped off the staff to keep the meal coming.

He was both saddened and furious that the girl was leaving, because she was lovely. He would have been proud to have her as a daughter: he would have been more proud to have her on his arm. What eye candy! He was disappointed he had never got into her pants. It was such a pity she had never been up for it with him.

Her leaving now was bloody inconvenient because her salary was cheap, while she was efficient and easy on the eye. She was also damn good at her job. This was a most unusual combination, and Sir Peter had no doubt that his assistant would be all but impossible to replace on those terms.

He chose not to express his irritation. After all, she was moving to that dreadful tabloid The Nation’s Voice.As the Justice Minister, Sir Peter suspected that sooner, rather than later, it would be useful to have a little goodwill at that reactionary rag. So he swallowed his pride, paid for dinner and made polite chitchat with the young woman this evening. He wanted to make sure that she could not think too badly of him in the end.

Arriving home, Sir Peter staggered slightly as he got out of the taxi and handed the driver £20 for the £10 journey. He felt obliged to keep up appearances. He stared at the door, wondering why it was open. He walked sideways up the path. Can’t be too careful. As he reached the door he pushed it a bit harder than he had intended. It creaked painfully then bounced back. He shoved it again, more gently. It stayed a little further open. He knew he had locked it and put on the alarm. At least, he thought he had put on the alarm. So why was the front door open? He hadn’t even put his key in the lock, but the door offered no resistance at all and the alarm was off. Monika was visiting her aunt in Switzerland. She would not be back until later in the month. He did not like to admit it, but he missed her. Ever since Louise had died, he had never got used to coming back to an empty house.

Since being widowed seventeen years ago, he avoided serious commitment to the fairer sex but always ensured a string of attractive young women with uncomplicated agendas vied to fill the void in his life. Monika was the latest, and had lasted the longest. He did rather like her; although she was not intelligent, she was tall, absolutely stunning, and attentive in the bedroom. The shoulder massage she gave was beyond compare. Still, she did have expensive tastes. In her absence, he would call the agency for some company. His mind wandered as he smiled and thought about which one to choose. Who would offer him most?

He was brought back to the present abruptly as he heard a floorboard squeak in the ground-floor living room that he used as an office. Sir Peter flicked on the lights. He frowned and entered the room swiftly. He was appalled by the space on his mantelpiece and the mess around his desk, on the floor. What was going on?

Then he caught sight of the thief. The bastard was right there, red-handed, rooting about. For the love of God: the violation! That desk was private. It held his late wife’s jewellery, his watches, his valuables, his emergency cash, and his stuff – even his expenses receipts. Sir Peter let rip a blood-curdling yell that echoed around the house.

***

Oh fuck! Jamie looked up in horror, but luckily his hood hid his face. He grabbed as much extra as he could, stuffing his pockets with sparkles, watches and gold, then he was off, disappearing through the French windows. Glad he had had the foresight to unlock them, but then, Pop had taught him well. He ran.

Bugger those tight shoes. Great for avoiding detection; not so great for ensuring escape.

Hunter's Chase book cover

On Writing

I remember when my younger sister and I were little girls our Mum used to make time to sit and read us emmastories on a Sunday afternoon. These were not like bed-time stories, on a Sunday we would get to sit in the ‘good’ living room and she would read us books including ‘Great Expectations’ by Charles Dickens, ‘King Solomon’s Mines’ by H. Rider Haggard,’Swallows Amazons by Arthur Ransome and ‘Emma’ by Jane Austin.

We loved listening to the stories but after we were in bed, having heard another story, my sister often could not get to sleep right away, so I would make up my own stories to tell her until she fell asleep. The first book I ever wrote was one of these stories, an adventure entitled ‘The Douglas Family’. I was about 9. I always planned to write a sequel, maybe one day I will.

Only years later was I converted to the world of blogging.

It is often said that when we are teenagers we rebel and when we grow older we become ourselves again. It was certainly true of me! I have always read voraciously but my writing, for many years was confined to studies, work and journals. However, when I was older, I contracted breast cancer. My way of coping was to revert to type. I read all I could about the disease and began to blog about my journey at www.survivingbreastcancer.com.food 1

However, I have also always enjoyed good food and loved to travel. It is said I would go to the opening of a paper bag! So I decided to start another blog to encompass these interests. Whenever I go anywhere, or go out to eat, I will share the experience here at www.hotelandrestaurantreviews.com – to date it has not resulted in free meals, but I live in hope.

It was also during the time that I was recovering from cancer that I began my book review site. For almost a year I was too ill, first from the disease and then from the cure, to do very much. However, I could read: and I did, even more than I ever had. It seemed sensible to extend my blogging to include reviews of the books I was reading, so my third blog, www.bookreviewstoday.info was born. I began to get asked by writers to review their books and I am always happy to do that. I do not make a charge, but I receive many excellent novels and biographies in return for my honest reviews.

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I always enjoy reading books by writers that are new to me, as well as those with whose work I am familiar. I just like to read. I have always found that reading can take you to a all kinds of places to meet different people. Perhaps it is my love of travel, this time through the medium of the written word. This was a great way for me to escape, especially from myself, when I was ill.

When I am reading a book review, I am looking for an honest opinion about the book. I also like to learn a bit about the author, their background and how they came to write the novel. It is also important that any review, like any other piece of writing holds my interest but please, please don’t spoil my enjoyment of the story by telling me what happens! That really upsets me.author's photograph

My own debut crime novel, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ is to be published by Crooked Cats Books in February next year, so I will have to get used to being on the other side of reviews. That is a daunting feeling.

Individual aspects of creating a novel are interesting. Setting is very important to me in my writing, even when I wrote ‘The Douglas Family’ for my sister all those years ago, I could visualise the house the family lived in, each room and the garden in which they had so many of their adventures.Vicky's Edinburgh 1

In ‘Hunter’s Chase’ my story is set in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. Crooked Cat Books will publish the novel on 02.02.2018. I did consider creating an imaginary town for him. However, I know the city of Edinburgh well as I lived there for many years and it has everything a writer could need. It is a diverse city with all different kinds of buildings and people. It is small enough that characters can move around it quickly and large enough for it to be credible that anything I want to happen there, could happen.

Edinburgh is also a beautiful city with a castle, a palace and a cathedral, wealthy homes, horrible slums, fine restaurants, fast food outlets and idiosyncratic pubs. It is home to an Olympic size pool, the National Rugby Team and two famous football teams. It is also home to The Edinburgh International Festivals, what more could I or my characters want?

Val Penny

Edinburgh, The Setting for ‘Hunter’s Chase’

edinburgh Firth_of_Forth_from_Edinburgh_Castle

I chose Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, as the setting for my novel ‘Hunter’s Chase’. The book will be published by Crooked Cat Books on 02.02.2018. Edinburgh is a beautiful city of around half a million people. The city is situated on the south banks of the Firth of Forth. There are some lovely views across the Forth from Edinburgh to the county of Fife on the north of the river. There are three bridges crossing the Firth of Forth: the oldest is the Forth Rail Bridge, built in the nineteenth century, the Forth Road Bridge was built in the twentieth century and the most modern, a bridge for road traffic was completed in the early part of this century, named the Queensferry Crossing.

edinburgh bridges

The delegated parliament of Scotland, that has wide powers over how the people are governed, meets in the Scottish Parliament Building, in the Holyrood district of the city. Following a referendum in 1997, in which the Scottish electorate voted for devolution, the current Parliament was convened by the Scotland Act of 1998 which sets out its powers as a devolved legislature. Since September 2004, the official home of the Scottish Parliament has been a  new Scottish Parliament Building in the Holyrood area of Edinburgh. The Scottish Parliament building was designed by Spanish architect Enric Miralles. There was much concern at the time as the building was completed many years late and several times over budget.

edinburgh parliament

The main protagonist of ‘Hunter’s Chase’ is Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson. He lives in Leith, an area to the north of the City and drinks in his local pub, the Persevere Bar. His home is also close to one of the main soccer grounds in Edinburgh, the Hibernian Football Ground. Hibernian Football Club, commonly known as Hibs, is a Scottish professional football club based in Leith.

edinburgh persevere

The other main character, Detective Constable Tim Myerscough lives across the city from Hunter, in the south-west of the city. He moves into a flat Gillespie Crescent between Tollcross and Bruntsfield. His local pub in the Golf Tavern, off the Bruntsfield Links.edinburgh gillespie cres

A wonderful free activity to do all year round is to play golf on Brunstfield Links. It is believed to be one of the oldest sites of golf as it pre-dates the seventeenth century, the short hole course was founded in 1895. Situated south of Melville Drive, there are two courses available to play on. A summer short 36 hole course (open end of April to September) and a 9 hole winter course (open October to end of April).edinburgh golf links

DC Tim Myerscough’s father, Sir Peter Myerscough, lives even further to the south in the Morningside district of Edinburgh. From his large house he has fine views across the Pentland Hills. The Pentland hills are situated just outside of Edinburgh. The reservoirs are picturesque and each hill is slightly different. If you are fit enough, you can go on top of all of the hills in one day. edinburgh Pentland_Hills_From_Caerketton_Hill_II

Edinburgh is such a diverse and cultural city, home to The Edinburgh International Festivals that represent all aspects of art, three universities and several colleges and the Scottish national rugby ground at Murrayfield. It is the perfect place to situate ‘Hunter’s Chase’ and the mysteries DI Hunter Wilson has to solve.

#hunterschase

Val Penny

More about a main character in ‘Hunter’s Chase’

One of the main characters of my new novel ‘Hunter’s Chase is Detective Constable Tim Myerscough. The book will be published by Crooked Cat Books on 02.02.2018. In the meantime, let me tell you a bit about Tim.cats-kittens-mothers-day

Like me, Tim is a cat lover. I have owned and bred cats all my life, but I have never blue burmese cats 2owned a pedigree cat. My cats have always been ‘history of cat in one volume’.

 

Tim, however, has a beautiful Burmese pedigree cat named Lucy. Burmese cats have short, silky and shiny coat that can be dark brown, champagne, platinum, blue or creamy brown in colour: Lucy is a blue Burmese.

As is usual for her breed, Lucy is portrayed as friendly and curious. She is also is highly intelligent and seeks out human blue burmese catcompanionship. This reflects Tim’s character well too. Lucy adores Tim and when he is sitting down, she wants to be on his lap or right next to him, waiting expectantly to be petted. She gets huffy if Tim ignores her and, when she is sleeping, she is happiest curled up on his bed beside him.

Val Penny